5 Top Tips to Perfect Posing

Ok so you’ve caved in and realised it really is time to get yourself that Professional Headshot you know your business is crying out for but you’re feeling a bit sick about the whole thing and are sorely tempted to run for the hills.

If anyone understands this it’s yours truly.  After years of putting myself through it as an actress who needed regularly updated pics, I know just how horrendous the thought of a shoot can be.  I hated every minute of mine – never knowing where to put my arms and legs and not knowing whether to smile or sneer but usually just wanting to cry! God it was awful!

These days, from the safety of the back of the camera and having shot the good, the bad and the gorgeous (no such thing as an ugly) I’ve picked up enough tips on how to ‘be’ in front of the camera in order to get a really great shot of you looking COMFORTABLE. After all, if you’re standing there worrying about where to put your hand and just how much to smile or not, you’re not going to look anything like YOU – and YOU is what those potential clients need to see.  Hence the need for this headshot in the first place! 

To get the real essence of you and for your inner wonderful to be allowed to shine through there are a few top tips that can really work.  Whether attempting this yourself armed with your selfie stick or going for it with a professional headshot photographer – here are my 5 top tips for perfect posing…

OK – so here we go.  Buckle up we’re off…

Twist

No I don’t mean break into a dance – but I do mean move your shoulders a little so they’re not straight on.  You don’t want to look like you’ve had a passport pic taken and you do want there to be a little ‘flow’ to your body.  So whether sitting or standing, twist your shoulders so that one is in front and one a little behind.  You can even cross your arms if this feels comfier or else lean down onto your knee (if sitting) and even have the other hand on your hip (does this sound complicated? It isn’t I promise – I basically mean make yourself comfy!)

Create space 

..between body and arm.  This is so that you don’t end up appearing much wider than you actually are! By putting your hand on your hip you’re creating that space that shows you have a waist and that the arm attached to your body isn’t just an extension of your torso (especially if wearing black). You can do this whether sitting or standing and often, when cropped, it doesn’t even appear to be a hand on hip gesture, just a better-shaped shoulder and body!

Lean

This is a great way to feel more casual and relaxed. It’s amazing how leaning can soften the body and relax it completely.  I often use a high backed chair for when clients are sitting as they can either straddle it and lean on their arms on top of it (is then cropped to head and shoulders – no need for a full-on Christine Keeler) or they can sit normally and lean back with an arm on the back of the chair.  

A table in front of you is helpful too so you can lean forward onto it and rest your head in your hand or just have your arms crossed on the top of the table. Lean forward and grab a cuppa if need be – anything like this to make you feel you’re being your natural self.

If standing, lean against a doorframe, a window or mantlepiece – anything you can find really! This lean thing is a winner.

Hands and more hands

This is most pertinent with men’s pics – especially when wearing suits.  Standing with arms dangling down at each side does nothing for the body shape and can make the suit look ‘boxy’.  I always get my menfolk to put their hands in their (suit) trouser pockets as that then gives a nice flow to the jacket while at the same time making the body look so much more relaxed. Amazing how the face follows suit (no pun intended) when the body feels comfortable.

For women, hands can be more of a problem when standing as they don’t necessarily have those useful side pockets going on.  If not crossing arms or putting one hand on hip, you can also put them in back pockets or a finger in the loop of trousers.  Or even go back to that cuppa – then you get a drink too!

To smile or not to smile

The only headshots required to have a neutral expression are the actors’ ones – otherwise, I’m all for at least a bit of a smile for everyone else.  Apart from the fact that even the tiniest of smiles lifts your face and gives an instant ‘facelift’ (seriously, look at yourself in the mirror now then smile)  – it also shows so much more warmth and does way more to draw in those potential clients.  But how to do this without feeling fake?  Well, there is no great answer to this except perhaps to feel fake! Yes, just by saying “haha” out loud you can give yourself a lovely natural-looking smile, even if you think you look ridiculous! Amazing how fake laughing can make you naturally smile anyway! 

You don’t need to have a full-blown Julia Roberts grin (though none of us would complain if we had one of those would we!) – just a warm smile is really enough.  Don’t worry if it feels completely false – it won’t look it.  All you’ll suffer from is an aching face – but think how much good exercise it’s giving your mug – so win win again.

So folks – that’s my basic top five – hope they’ve been useful!  If, however, you’d like to forget about all that, delete it all and have someone else directing you with even more pearls of wisdom do get in touch! (yes, I have more where those came from!)

Happy posing all! X